The BC’s Netflix Watch-a-thon: November 2018 (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Network, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

November is coming to a close and that means we get another of these posts! Yay! But we also get to talk about the great films that have been released over the 20th and 21st Century. Since this month has been the month of great films (with the occasional crap one) we’re going to be looking at the greats, or at least what people thought were great back in the day but have now aged horrendously. So let’s talk some great films because you’re definitely not sick of hearing me praise stuff yet.

Netflix Original

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

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Our Netflix movie of this month is another one of those multiple mini movies that make one full movie. Unlike Holidays it’s set around a bunch of different stories in the old west and instead of each story being made by different people, this time all the credit goes to the Coen Brothers. I think I’ll do the same format I did with Holidays because it worked out pretty well for me last time.

I should point out before we start that all of these shorts are going to get a different reaction out of you depending on your taste, so this small list will be quite subjective. Also to keep this concise I’ll just give you my opinion and move on to the next short. Okay, rapidly shooting through this thing.

  1. The Girl Who Rattled

The only short to focus on a female character felt the most boring of the lot. The relationship between the meek woman and handsome cowboy was okay and I liked the shootout at the end. But my problem is it’s the longest of the shorts and it took too long to take off. It’s not the best, but it’s by no means terrible.

  1. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The first short of this movie is easily the dumbest and most entertaining part of this whole movie. Buster Scruggs is a quick shooting singing cowboy who doesn’t know when to shut up. It’s over the top and silly, a good hook to get you invested in this movie of mini movies.

  1. Mortal Remains

Now we’re at the last short of the movie and I’m guessing the Coen Brothers wanted one short dedicated to just people talking. It is all really good and it’s great to just take it all in. This short builds up to the best ending out of all the shorts where it makes you wonder ‘what the hell just happened?’. Also, with this one, I liked how it used the colors as it starts out bright orange and as the talking dies down it becomes dark pink which suits the ending they’re going for.

  1. Near Algodones

This one features one man wanting to rob a bank but failing as absolutely everything goes wrong. This one has the most unexpected plot because you don’t really know what’s going to happen next. It’s pretty damn entertaining and a non-stop thrill ride.

  1. All Gold Canyon

An old man is desperately searching for gold and, like all the other shorts, the cinematography looks amazing. Especially since all these shorts take place in many different locations that aren’t always in the old west. This one might be my favorite as it’s in a huge valley surrounded by trees and a small river going through this valley. As for the story it’s well paced and you’re not really rooting for this crazy old man to find this gold but more fascinated with what’s going on.

  1. Meal Ticket

Meal Ticket is the one to get the most emotion out of me in its 10 to 15 minute run. It follows an Impresario and his performer travelling around, all the while having a pretty miserable time. This one features the least amount of dialogue and the performances from Liam Neeson and Harry Melling are outstanding. I probably like this the most because of how it uses the visual medium and how you learn so much about these characters from their facial expressions. Also I think I’m more attracted to grim and bleak situations than stupidly over the top.

Altogether it’s a solid movie filled with great performances, excellent writing, directing and amazing cinematography. I’m not going to rate this one just like I didn’t rate Holidays. But I do highly recommend checking this out if you’ve got Netflix.

Oscar Winning Film

Network (1976)

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Hey!  A movie about TV, who doesn’t love TV? If this was back when this movie came out or maybe even 7 years ago, then I would probably agree. Network is all about how manipulative television can be and how networks know this and of course exploit the hell out of it. I know I haven’t mentioned much so far but if I write any more I’ll end up spoiling the movie so if you haven’t seen it and you want to proceed with this review go and watch the movie first and then come back.

Network is about Howard Beale.  He is a sad old depressed news anchor who tells his audience that he’s going to blow his brains out before retirement. This stirs up controversy and Faye Dunaway’s character Diana sees a great opportunity to boost the network’s ratings. If this isn’t one of the best premises you’ve ever heard of then I’m telling you it’s one of the best that I’ve heard. It doesn’t take too long to get going, unlike most modern movies which take forever to get going, sometimes to the point of never properly lifting off. Once Howard Beale tells everyone that he wants to kill himself I was immediately as invested as the viewers in this movie.

While watching this movie I had a hard time figuring out who the main character of the movie was so I guess I’ll just quickly talk about all of them. The scene stealer is probably Peter Finch as Howard Beale as he portrays the modern nut job and his rants are great. Max is probably the actual main character of the movie because he’s the one we would relate to. He believes Howard needs help and he believes in the traditional old news programs. Then you’ve got Diana who is very ambitious and will stop at nothing to get to her goal, but who also doesn’t mind some fun in the meantime.

Back in the day, this movie won some Oscars, one of them being Best Screenplay which it definitely deserves. This movie is filled with great performances and mostly the people who won an Oscar probably got it because of their really long monologues or their shouting. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still great performances. The only one I’m not too sure about is the actress who played Max’s wife – she won an award but from what I remember she had only one great scene, with the rest of her performance being kind of forgettable. Peter Finch was the first posthumous award winner due to his tragic death and Faye Dunaway won an Oscar too. But we’re getting off track, I need to talk negatively for a bit.

After Max is fired and Howard Beale’s ‘I’m Mad as Hell’ speech, the movie started to get boring for me. At this point Max became pretty irrelevant other than for his affair with Diana. Speaking of Max and Diana, this was a romance I couldn’t give two hoots about. But after that little dip things get more interesting with Howard Beale’s downfall. That’s pretty much it for the negatives, I’ll keep quiet now.

For an old movie it holds up pretty well. Most of the board room meetings with Diana are how I imagine most TV execs still behave today. As long as the program gains more viewership and more traffic who cares if it’s pure garbage. The ending to this movie is really good with Howard Beale’s show dying so his bosses literally kill him off and start a new show, which again is how television networks usually work. Well they might not go as far as murder but if something is unpopular they get cold feet pretty fast and giving the public something they really want is the way to win back their respect.

I think I could go on but I’ve got other movies to review so here’s my 9/10.  If you have an interest in media like I do, then I highly recommend this one.

Beloved Class Winner

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

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Oh boy, another movie that will always be older than me! Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of those movies that as soon as you make a grab for it, you’ll get an instant slap on the wrist for mistreating a classic movie. That’s pretty much how it goes for most of John Hughes’ earlier movies. Especially if you watched any of John Hughes’ movies when you were younger and since I didn’t watch this movie until a year ago, when I was no longer a little brat, so of course the cynical person that you love to hate has no nostalgia lead holding him back.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a product of it’s time. If it was released today it would be sent straight to DVD or maybe it would be a Disney Channel movie or else inserted straight onto Netflix because nobody would want to pay to watch it in theaters. I say this because Ferris Bueller has the feel of a Saturday morning cartoon from the 80’s. It’s super cheesy, it’s over the top and it’s very cartoony.  Why isn’t this animated? I would love it then.

In case you didn’t know, the movie follows Ferris Bueller who is the coolest 80’s kid on the planet, everyone adores him and he is basically a Mary Sue. That’s why I hate this kid. (I mean man!) Ferris very easily tricks his parents into believing that he is sick so he can skip school and have fun for the day. We also meet his only friend Cameron who is the only character in this movie to have an actual arc and the girlfriend character and that’s all there is to her. Together the three juvenile delinquents have a fun day and things happen and the movie thinks it’s funny. (But it really isn’t.)

While that is going on, we have Baby sulking in the corner for the whole movie because her brother was written to be like Kevin McAllister and Bart Simpson while she was only written to be the sulky sister. We’ve got everyone in Chicago mourning that Ferris is dying at home to the point of forming a charity fund for him, his parents are oblivious to everything their son does and Dick Dastardly tries to catch Ferris out of school while posing zero threat to any of our main characters.

I guess I should mention a few things I liked. Some of the more stupid moments in the movie I kind of liked but again it would’ve looked better if it was an animated movie because in animation you can exaggerate more and be more experimental. With Dick Dastardly trying to break into Ferris’s house wouldn’t it be awesome if it was more like a Looney Tunes cartoon? I liked the scene in the pool and in Cameron dad’s  garage because it featured some actual character development from not just Cameron but the other two caricatures. While we’re at it, Cameron is the best character in the movie because he has an actual arc, not an amazing arc but some kind of an arc. The movie is well shot I think especially when Ferris and co visit an art gallery and the music was pretty cool.

That’s about it and Ferris Bueller can rot in hell for all eternity!!

It’s a 4 or 5/10 for me.  It’s definitely a product of its time because I believe it’s more suitable for people who grew up with this movie or if you’re a very little kid maybe. I thought of this as I was watching it and I thought of a more interesting version of this movie.

In my version we see the self obsessed Ferris Bueller writing his own fantasy world (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) where he is the coolest kid on the planet. Real Ferris I think is more like Cameron and that explains why he’s the only character with an arc. The real Cameron isn’t his friend but his enemy as he’s the coolest kid in school and is constantly picking on the pathetic Ferris Bueller who pretends to be sick all the time to stay away from Cameron but his parents don’t care because they’re too busy fighting all the time. Ferris’s dad is a car dealer and owes a lot of money for buying this very posh Ferrari that he loves to death and his wife hates him for it. Ferris’s sister is also very popular at school and her feelings for her brother in the movie are his actual feelings for his sister as she is always skipping school to go on fun adventures. Sadly Charlie Sheen’s character only exists in Ferris’s stories because his sister brings home so many different boys they all blend into one for Ferris.

His girlfriend in the movie is really just the hottest girl in his class and the reason she is just a caricature is because he’s never actually spoken to her, same with the Principal who he has never had to deal with because he very much keeps to himself. So my Ferris Bueller is a social outcast and his only form of escapism is movies, TV, cartoons to explain why the movie feels like a cartoon and of course writing the misadventures of his classmates where he’s the coolest guy on the planet. The movie we see is what the real Ferris Bueller fancies himself as and Cameron’s arc is what he really wants to do but doesn’t have the stomach for because every day as he wakes up he wishes he was dead.

But that’s my version, if it’s too dark for you than just watch the movie.

That’s another month done folks. I think this month’s selection was pretty good. If you want to get involved with the selection process go on either Facebook or Twitter to be part of the voting process or leave comments on what you would like to see me review. Stay tuned for next month where it’s Christmas time so expect something different and unique.

Until Next Time I’m The Blog Complainer, signing out.

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